The Landscape Of Coronavirus Clinical Trials : The first known case of pneumonia due to an unknown cause was reported on December 31, 2019, to the office of the World Health Organization (WHO) in China. It occurred in Wuhan of Hubei province.
This mysterious respiratory syndrome was later identified and the etiological agent was named a new type of coronavirus on January 7, 2020. Following this, the medical world delved into clinical trials and research to discover a new drug to combat this virus.
The role of translational research
Translational research applies knowledge from the fields of basic biology and clinical trials to tools and techniques that meet critical medical needs. In contrast to applied sciences, translational research is specially designed to augment health outcomes.
This method employs a team of experts who focus on translating beneficial data from research laboratories to physicians’ offices and hospitals. It follows a model of “bench to bedside.”
This method acts as an aid to clinical trials. It studies multiple species of mammals and naturally occurring diseases in veterinary clinical trials. This method ensures quick medical resolution for veterinary cases while simultaneously helping in human drug development.
To date, coronavirus 2, an acute respiratory syndrome has caused approximately 38 million cases of COVID-19, a disease which has claimed 1,083,234 lives worldwide in a short time span.
The coronavirus outbreak is posing a challenge to the scientific community worldwide. They are in a position to speed up the development and testing of new treatments and vaccines to end this pandemic.
The efficacy and safety of small-molecule drugs have been disputed in over 2000 clinical studies done from the inception of the pandemic to July 2020. There are four main web-based clinical trial databases that register these studies in the treatment of COVID-19.
These numbers reveal the magnitude of the continuing global efforts to combat this challenging disease. The efforts for the development of vaccines too are matching up to the need.
Over 180 examined drug applicants are registered in more than one clinical trial. They are either tested alone or in combination with other drugs.
The opportunities for Drug Repositioning
These small-molecule drug testing occupy an interesting chemical variety. It highlights the significant role of the drug repositioning method in clinical tests for the treatment of COVID-19.
Drug repositioning is a chemical strategy in medicine. It is used to recognize new uses for existing approved drugs. It also includes candidates in the advanced stage of clinical research. One of the key assets of drug repositioning is the minimum development time since preclinical and clinical examinations.
Both in animals and humans, as well as industrial-scale formulation and production processes, have already been successfully completed. Although comparatively lesser known to the public, drug repositioning has a long-standing history in drug discovery.
For instance, the drug zidovudine (ZDV or AZT), produced in 1964 was originally developed for cancer treatment, it was effectively and successfully repurposed to become the first drug approved for the therapy of HIV/AIDS, in 1987.
Similarly, Sildenafil or Viagra was originally developed for coronary disease treatment in the 1980s. It later became the first effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, that is applied orally.
So far, combination therapy is considered to be more effective and convenient in treating COVID-19, as the current clinical candidates exhibit low efficacy. The treatment of HIV-AIDS is a familiar example of this strategy.
Wherein a mixture of antiretroviral drugs is essential to control the replication of the virus. It also clinically improved the conditions of the patient. Studies show that patients who strictly follow the extremely active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) live normally within the restrictions imposed by a lifelong treatment.
Prospective drug candidates
No specific vaccine or drug for COVID-19 has been officially approved by the regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) so far.
Favipiravir, an antiviral drug, has been recently approved in Russia in the treatment of COVID-19. The drug has been investigated in 25 medical studies registered on ClinicalTrials.gov.
However, so far no convincing scientific evidence is accessible regarding its effectiveness against this disease.
Another subject of controversy is the lack of effectiveness of both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. These drugs which are antimalarial, rank first in the number of clinical trials in progress in the world.
Though they have more than 220 records on ClinicalTrials.gov, the efficacy of these drugs for COVID-19 have never been established.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine on June 15, 2020. As there is no reliable scientific evidence for their efficacy in treating COVID-19 patients with mild, moderate, or severe manifestations.
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The Landscape Of Coronavirus Clinical Trials
Coronavirus Clinical Trials